Province of Georgia

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Province of Georgia
Colony of Great Britain
Invis flag.gif
1732–1777


Flag

A map of the Province of Georgia, 1732–1777
Capital Savannah
Languages English, Mikasuki, Cherokee, Muscogee, Shawnee, Yuchi
Government Constitutional monarchy
King
 •  1732–1760 George II
 •  1760–1777 George III
Governor
 •  1732-1743 James Oglethorpe (first)
 •  1760–1782 James Wright (last)
Legislature Commons House of Assembly (lower)
General Assembly (upper)
Historical era Colonial Era
 •  Established 1732
 •  Disestablished 1777
Currency Pound sterling
Today part of  United States

The Province of Georgia[1] (also Georgia Colony) was one of the Southern colonies in British America. It was the last of the thirteen original American colonies established by Great Britain in what later became the United States. In the original grant, a narrow strip of the province extended to the Pacific Ocean.[2]

The colony's corporate charter[3] was granted to General James Oglethorpe on April 21, 1732, by George II, for whom the colony was named. The charter was finalized by the King's privy council on June 9, 1732. Oglethorpe envisioned a colony which would serve as a haven for English subjects who had been imprisoned for debt. General Oglethorpe imposed very strict laws that many colonists disagreed with, such as the banning of alcohol. Oglethorpe disagreed with slavery and thought a system of smallholdings more appropriate than the large plantations common in the colonies to the north. However, land grants were not as large as most colonists would have preferred. Oglethorpe envisioned the province as a location for the resettlement of English debtors and "the worthy poor". Another motivation for the founding of the colony was as a "buffer state" (border), or "garrison province" that would defend the southern part of the British colonies from Spanish Florida. Oglethorpe imagined a province populated by "sturdy farmers" that could guard the border; because of this, the colony's charter prohibited slavery.[1]

Foundation[edit]

Main article: Trustee Georgia

Oglethorpe's original plan had called for Georgia to be established as a safe home for those who had been imprisoned as debtors. The following is an historical accounting of these first English settlers sent to Georgia:

"A committee was appointed to visit the jails and obtain the discharge of such poor prisoners as were worthy, carefully investigating character, circumstances and antecedents."[4]
"Thirty-five families, numbering one hundred and twenty persons, were selected."[5]
"On the 16th of November, 1732, the emigrants embarked at Gravesend on the ship Anne ... arriving January 13th [1733] in the harbor of Charleston, S. C. ..."
"They set sail the day following ... into Port Royal, some eighty miles southward, to be conveyed in small vessels to the river Savannah."[6]

Oglethorpe continued up the river to scout a location suitable for settlement. On February 12, 1733, Oglethorpe led the settlers to their arrival at Yamacraw Bluff, in what is now the city of Savannah, and established a camp with the help of a local elderly Creek chief, Tomochichi. A Yamacraw Indian village had occupied the site, but Oglethorpe arranged for the Indians to move. The day is still celebrated as Georgia Day.

The original charter specified the colony as being between the Savannah and Altamaha Rivers, up to their headwaters (the headwaters of the Altamaha are on the Ocmulgee River), and then extending westward "to the south seas." The area within the charter had previously been part of the original grant of the Province of Carolina, which was closely linked to Georgia.[1]

Development[edit]

Savannah, Georgia Colony, early 18th century

The Privy Council approved the establishment charter on June 9, 1732, and for the next two decades the council of trustees governed the province, with the aid of annual subsidies from Parliament. However, after many difficulties and the departure of Oglethorpe, the trustees proved unable to manage the proprietary colony, and on June 23, 1752, they submitted a deed of reconveyance to the crown, one year before the expiration of the charter. On January 7, 1755, Georgia officially ceased to be a proprietary colony and became a crown colony.

From 1732 until 1758, the minor civil divisions were districts and towns. In 1758, without Indian permission, the Province of Georgia was divided into eight parishes by the Act of the Assembly of Georgia on March 15. The Town and District of Savannah was named Christ Church Parish. The District of Abercorn and Goshen, and the District of Ebenezer, was named the Parish of St. Matthew. The District of Halifax was named the Parish of St. George. The District of Augusta was named the Parish of St. Paul. The Town of Hardwick and the District of Ogeechee, including the islands of Ossabaw, was named the Parish of St. Philip. From Sunbury in the District of Midway and Newport to the south branch of Newport, including the islands of St. Catherine and Bermuda, was named the Parish of St. John. The Town and District of Darien, to the Altamaha River; including the islands of Sapelo and Eastwood, and including the sea islands north of Egg Island, was named the Parish of St. Andrew. The Town and District of Frederica; including the islands of Great and Little St. Simons, and the adjacent islands, was named the Parish of St. James.[7]

Following Britain’s victory in the French and Indian War, King George III issued the Proclamation of 1763. One of its provisions was to extend Georgia’s southern boundary from the Altamaha River to the St. Marys River. Two years later, on March 25, 1765, Gov. James Wright approved an act of the General Assembly creating four new parishes St. David, St. Patrick, St. Thomas, and St. Mary—in the newly acquired land, and further assigning Jekyll Island to St. James Parish.[8] In 1777, the original eight counties of the State of Georgia were created.

In practice, settlement in the colony was limited to the near vicinity of the Savannah River. The western area of the colony remained under the control of the Creek Indian Confederation until after the American Revolutionary War.

In the beginning, the colony had a sluggish start. James Oglethorpe did not allow liquor, and colonists who came at the trustees' expense were not allowed to own more than 50 acres (0.20 km2) of land for their farm in addition to a 60 foot by 90 foot plot in town. Those who paid their own way could bring ten indentured servants and would receive 500 acres of land. Additional land could neither be acquired nor sold.[9]

Discontent grew in the colony because of these restrictions, and so Oglethorpe lifted them. With slavery, liquor, and land acquisition the colony improved much faster.[citation needed] Slavery had been permitted from 1749.[10] There was some internal opposition, particularly from Scottish settlers,[11] but by the time of the War of Independence, Georgia was much like the rest of the South.

On April 24, 1802, Georgia ceded to Congress parts of its western territories. These became the Mississippi Territory and later (with other adjoining lands) the states of Alabama and Mississippi.

See also[edit]

Part of a series on the
History of the
State of Georgia
Seal of Georgia.svg
Timeline of Georgia (U.S. state)
  • Pre-Columbian
  • European Exploration
  • Colonial Georgia
  • American Revolution
  • Antebellum Period
  • American Civil War
  • Reconstruction
  • Postbellum Economic Growth
  • Agrarian Unrest and Disfranchisement
  • Progressive Era
  • Civil Rights Movement
  • Sun Belt growth and the New Right

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Charter of Georgia: 1732". Avalon Law. Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School. 2008. Archived from the original on October 22, 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2016. All which lands, countries, territories and premises, hereby granted or mentioned, and intended to be granted, we do by these presents, make, erect and create one independent and separate province, by the name of Georgia, by which name we will, the same henceforth be called. 
  2. ^ "Charter of Georgia : 1732". avalon.law.yale.edu. Lillian Goldman Law Library. Archived from the original on October 22, 2008. ...[from] the Savannah [to] the Alatamaha sic, and westerly from the heads of the said rivers respectively, in direct lines to the south seas. 
  3. ^ "Royal Charter of the Colony of Georgia". Trustees, Colony of Georgia, RG 49-2-18. Georgia Archives. Retrieved 18 May 2016. 
  4. ^ Cooper, Harriet Cornelia (January 1, 1904). "James Oglethorpe: The Founder of Georgia". D. Appleton – via Google Books. 
  5. ^ Cooper, Harriet Cornelia (January 1, 1904). "James Oglethorpe: The Founder of Georgia". D. Appleton – via Google Books. 
  6. ^ Cooper, Harriet Cornelia (January 1, 1904). "James Oglethorpe: The Founder of Georgia". D. Appleton – via Google Books. 
  7. ^ georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu "1758 Act Dividing Georgia into Parishes"
  8. ^ "GeorgiaInfo". georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu. Retrieved 2016-02-16. 
  9. ^ Force, Peter. "Tracts and other papers relating principally to the origin, settlement, and progress of the colonies in North America from the discovery of the country to the year 1776." (Web). American Memory. Retrieved 28 September 2013. 
  10. ^ "History of the United States of America". 
  11. ^ Wikisource: Petition against the Introduction of Slavery

Further reading[edit]

  • Coleman, Kenneth (1976). Colonial Georgia: A History. Scribner. ISBN 0-684-14555-3. 
  • Hawke, David F. (1966). The Colonial Experience. Bobbs-Merrill Company. ISBN 0-02-351830-8. 

External links[edit]